Stained glass

Saint Michael the Archangel, Kirkby Malham

Brief Guide to the North Aisle Windows

(The Northern Saints Windows)

Please click here for a more detailed guide  to the windows

The lovely stained glass windows in the north aisle of Kirby Malham Church date from the 1920s and were created in London.

Four local families each sponsored windows: the St Chad/St Wilfrid window is dedicated to the memory of Ronald Falshaw Morkhill who died after a flying accident in the First World War.

Each window depicts two Northern Saints who helped spread Christianity in the North of England from the 6th century onwards.

St Bede and St Cuthbert (nearest to the tower end of the church).

St Bede is famous for writing the first history of the English church and people.

  • The main window shows Bede reading or translating the Gospel of St John
  • The lower window shows Cuthbert, a young monk, beside the dying Bede

St Cuthbert was persuaded to become Bishop of Hexham and then retreated to the Farne Islands.

The main window shows him as a bishop with an otter – otters were supposed to have kept his feet warm as he stood praying on the seashore

The lower window shows King Egfrith persuading Cuthbert to become a bishop

St Hilda and Caedmon

Hilda became a learned Abbess of Whitby. She oversaw the controversial Synod of Whitby in 664 to decide when Easter should be.

  • The main window shows Hilda holding a book
  • The lower window shows Hilda presiding over the Synod of Whitby

 Caedmon was a simple herdsman at Whitby Abbey. After a dream, he wrote down what became the first religious poetry in England.

  • The main window shows Caedmon with a harp
  • The lower window shows Caedmon in a stable

St Chad and St Wilfrid

Chad was a travelling preacher who became Bishop of Lastingham in North Yorkshire then Bishop of York.

  • The main window shows Chad in the robes of a Bishop
  • The lower window shows Chad blessing a huntsman

St Wilfrid became Bishop of York but went to France for two years and was replaced by Chad (which annoyed him).

  • The main window shows Wilfrid in bishop’s robes and with a ship which depicts his frequent travels
  • The lower window shows Wilfrid on the road to convert people

St Oswald and St Aidan

Oswald became King of Northumbria and protected the Christian Church from local pagans.

  • The main window shows Oswald with a crown and sceptre. There is a pet raven with a ring in its beak on his left arm – a symbol of overcoming the pagan religion.
  • The lower window shows a cross which Oswald set up before the  battle of Heavenfield against a pagan army.

St Aidan was monk on the Scottish island of Iona. King Oswald asked him to spread Christianity from a base in Lindisfarne.

  • The main window shows Aidan in the simple robes of a monk There’s a bible in his left hand, and a torch in his right hand to bring light to the pagan north.
  • The lower window shows Aidan with King Oswald preaching to a group

 

Some of the background scenery depicted in the windows is thought to represent the landscape around Malhamdale.